Kimberly Grandinetti is the new Jackson County public health administrator.
Grandinetti comes to Jackson County after working for the city of East Moline for 18 years, first as health inspector covering food and housing abatement, then as inspections coordinator for building, plumbing and health inspections. Prior to that, she worked for two years in rural public health positions.
Public health is a one-person department charged with coordinating public responses to everything from well and septic safety to radon awareness.
“I wanted a challenge,” she said.
Everything relates to public health. Grandinetti jokes that she never got questions about chicken manure applications in her previous position, and she’s reacquainting herself with some of the aspects of rural public and environmental health.
“I’m someone who will say, ‘I need to get back to you’ if I don’t know the answer,” she said. She won’t bluff about ordinances she’s not entirely sure of, she emphasized.
“One of the biggest challenges in Jackson County is all this different topography,” she continued. “Where I worked before in Illinois, we didn’t have sinkholes.” All these different geographies affect drinking and wastewater systems, besides adding to the area’s natural beauty.
Grandinetti moved to Maquoketa last October and said she’s enjoying starting to explore the county. She’s gotten lost a few times along the way, she admits.
But before interviewing for the position, she and her family spent a fair amount of time just driving around the county. That’s the sort of geographic knowledge you can only acquire by physically being in a place, she said.
Grandinetti grew up in Andalusia, Illinois, and has lived most of her adult life in the Quad Cities area. One of her daughters has already moved with her to Maquoketa, and another will start the next school year here.
Some of Grandinetti’s goals in the department are to streamline digital systems and to work with county GIS (geographic information systems) coordinator Heather Brusnahan to put well and septic information on the county’s Beacon website.
She wants to raise public awareness that the county will do free testing of private wells for nitrates and bacteria, and she hopes to make the county’s animal bite program more comprehensive. The county will no longer be doing perc (percolation) tests of soil drainage to determine placements for septic systems, so another public outreach effort is to let people know where they can get this service.
Former Jackson County public health administrator Frank Frieberg now heads the Waste Authority of Jackson County, also in the basement of the Jackson County Courthouse.